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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Why Being 'Lazy' Could Be Good for the Planet

By automating the small tasks of your day-to-day routine, you are gifted back the time to focus on the most essential and important elements of life while creating much less impact on the planet.

I am writing this in defense of laziness. In fact, I believe that laziness is the true mother of invention. If you want to find an easier, or rather, more efficient way to do something — ask a “lazy” person to figure it out.

The truth is that a “lazy” person has the one thing every one of us wants more of: time.

When we started creating smart-home automation products, my team and I would joke that we were trying to make people lazy. But I have found over the years that we are just responding to a need. That’s because home automation isn’t just for DIYers who are chasing the latest home upgrades. It’s for families who want control over their quality of life — and their finances — in an uncertain world.

By automating the small tasks of your day-to-day routine, you are gifted back the time to focus on the most essential and important elements of life: quality time with your loved ones; mental space to be thoughtful and creative; and the freedom to choose where to put your energy, both literally and figuratively. The downstream effect of encouraging yourself to be “lazy”? Much less impact on the planet.

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So today, I contend that being lazy is not only good for you, but also for the planet.

Laziness and innovation

What if lazy was just another word for innovative? In 1947, a US automobile executive told Congress that when he had a tough job at the plant and couldn’t figure out an easy way to do it, he put a lazy man on the job. He said a lazy man will find an easy way to do it in 10 days.

And research suggests that being lazy helps you focus. There is also the term “false laziness,” with data showing that people with a high IQ get bored less often, leading them to be less active — which in turn allows them to spend more time engaged in thought.

Innovators are game-changers by definition — at work and at play. When I have the privilege of spending time with our engineers, I see this innovation in action. They are hyper-focused on efficiency and will try any creative method to elevate the functionality of our devices.

Does every innovative idea prove itself out? No. But it’s the creative space to try that matters; and most importantly, it’s the ripple effect of their work for our customers — who get to put their feet up at the end of a long day, knowing that the minutiae of their households are taken care of.

What you do matters

According to a recent Pew Research study, the majority of US adults surveyed (69 percent) would like to see the country be carbon neutral by 2050. While the onus of this effort is often placed in the political sphere, the reality is that individuals have more power than they realize to reduce their own energy consumption and move the needle on climate change.

It’s estimated that one-third of the world’s CO2 emissions are the result of household energy consumption and that home automation saves nearly 13 percent of original emissions. An automated home saves an average of $98 per month and reduces that household’s energy consumption by 40 percent — nearly half.

None of us needs to be a mathematician to understand the potential of that simple calculation. We also don’t need much imagination to understand the impact of that energy savings, multiplied. Imagine the ripple effect of this savings one city block, one suburban neighborhood, and one US town at a time. The power is literally in our hands to create incremental change that alters the course of climate change.

The intersection of individual wellness and environmental health

In a culture that constantly begs for more — more work, more money, more time, more clicks — I believe the revolution lies in doing less. 42 percent of US workers are currently experiencing burnout, which is higher than the rate experienced at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing more is not serving us or our planet.

What does a single mom need most? Time. And the overextended young entrepreneur? Also time. And the family struggling to juggle work, kids’ schedules and an ever-growing list of bills? Time — and also money. And in addition to these basic needs, most of us are also hoping to contribute positively within our communities and create a healthy, safe future for the generations ahead. Not a small task.

What I know now is that all of this does not need to be so overwhelming. Automation can give us back time while protecting our pocketbooks — all the while influencing the health of our planet in measurable ways. Automation provides more time and more money while requiring less effort and less energy.

By doing less, we open the door to more. How refreshing would it be to flip the script: to embrace being both “lazy” and innovative, to reject burnout and accept relaxation, and to support both our individual wellness and the health of our planet?